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Employee engagement is key to the success of an organization. However, employee motivation and engagement depend on how the organization manages its labor relations and builds a system in which employers, workers, their representatives, and, directly or indirectly, the government interact to set the ground rules for work relationships.
To foster a culture of productive labor management in member countries and share best practices that can lead to better relationships and engagement of workers in the era of Industry 4.0, the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) held a multicountry observational study mission on Labor-Management Relations in Jakarta, 23–26 July 2018. The study mission, organized in collaboration with Indonesia’s Directorate General of Training and Productivity under the Ministry of Manpower, was attended by 23 participants from 13 APO member countries, including experts from government, NPOs, labor unions, and the private sector.
The aim of the study mission was to share the status of and issues in labor-management relations and identify the roles of government, unions, and SMEs in the era of Industry 4.0. The mission also enabled participants to understand approaches to effective, amicable labor-management relations with the cooperation of those three actors for the promotion of a constructive, harmonious environment leading to sustainable productivity improvement in APO member economies.
Addressing the inaugural session, Head of the NPO Indonesia Muhamaad Zuhri Bahri stressed the need for effective labor management in the era of Industry 4.0, which is rapidly changing the role of workers and the world of employment.
The study mission was conducted by two resource speakers from Japan: International Cooperation Department Counselor Yasuhiko Inoue of the Japan Productivity Center; and MSC International Co. Ltd. President and Management Consultant Dr. Shinichiro Kawaguchi. They introduced the overall concept of labor-management relations and what organizations need to do to improve them in a fast-changing digital economy and shared insights on labor-management relations based on their experience in Japan.
The APO has been focusing on improving labor management in member economies as an important aspect of productivity improvement and conducted a workshop on labor-management relations for the automobile industry in 2013. Based on feedback and experience, in 2014 the APO published the Manual on Labor-Management Relations. In 2015, it also organized a workshop on labor-management relations for policymakers, NPOs, and representatives of agencies in charge of labor management issues. Subsequently, in 2016, a forum was organized to bring together policymakers, labor union representatives, and top managers to discuss issues affecting labor-management relations; and in 2017, a training course was held focusing on the roles of governments, labor unions, and NPOs in promoting harmonious labor-management relations.
Photos: NPO Indonesia (Directorate General of Training and Productivity Development, Ministry of Manpower)